Environment Agency wins bid for net zero workboats on Thames

New electric workboats are set to be deployed along Thames as part of world’s largest network of zero emission workboats

ZENOW boat likely to be used by Environment Agency (source: Paddy James, RSMG Marketing) 

The Environment Agency is set to play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions of commercial workboats in the UK.

The organisation has just secured 4 electric workboats and 2 charging points as part of the Zero Emission Workboat Network (ZENOW) project. This project will deploy the world’s largest network of zero emission electric workboats.

Led by RS Electric Boats (RSE), ZENOW has just won £4.1m from the Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition run by the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) and Innovate UK.

The ZENOW project helps winning partners like the Environment Agency adopt zero emission commercial maritime vessels, developing technology and products to help the UK dominate the rapidly growing zero emissions sector worldwide.

Lisa Craddock, a national navigation senior advisor for the Environment Agency, said:

"We are incredibly excited to have secured this funding. It means we can now trial 4 electric workboats and 2 charging points, free of charge, on the River Thames and in East Anglia, for the next 3 years. These will be the first electric boats of their kind in our fleet.

"They will be used for river enforcement, monitoring and maintenance and will make a significant contribution to our pledge to reduce our fleet boat emissions by 50%. Many of our medium sized craft are approaching the end of their lives, so this bid is well timed in helping us make long term decisions on the technology we should be investing in."

Iffley Lock on the River Thames (source: Environment Agency)

Project partners will monitor and analyse usage data until 2028 to demonstrate the efficacy of zero emission solutions in a real-world environment and across a range of operational states. The outputs of these projects will help to develop the wider clean maritime sector as well as inform future policy and regulatory decisions.


The ZENOW network will consist of twenty RS Electric workboats of three different classes, five new Aqua Superpower chargers and will be operated for a minimum of three years across 10 geographic locations.

The ZENOW partnership comprises: University of Plymouth, Lloyd’s Register EMEA, Aqua Superpower Limited, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, Yarmouth (IOW) Harbour Commissioners, Zero Marine Services Limited, Cheetah Marine International Ltd., Urban Truant Power Ltd., Environment Agency, RAD Propulsion Ltd., Royal Yachting Association, WPNSA Ltd., Fowey Harbour Commissioners, and Salcombe Harbour Authority.

Environment Agency